Hot Water Heater Pipes Cut?

My wife and I are buying a HUD foreclosure that has been sitting vacant for a few months with all utilities disabled. While checking out the hot water heater I noticed the the copper pipes running into and out of the top of the heater had been completely severed. We are at a loss as to why this would be the case, but I have several supicions: Maybe the previous owner had bought a new heater and wanted to take it with him or maybe it was in a lame attempt at being vindictive or maybe it was something that HUD has done to "winterize" the property.
So, anyone have any ideas on why the pipes would be cut? How do I go about reconnecting them? I've bought a plumber's soldering kit and some copper sleeves to re-attach the pipes, but I've never done this kind of soldering before. If anyone has any ideas I would very much appreciate the help.
Regards,
John Davis
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So, the house was in foreclosure. It sounds like the prior owner was in the process of unhooking the hot water heater, but for some reason got cold feet. Maybe he was uncertain how to unwire the electrical wires and just gave up, or gave the idea a second thought and thought it would get him into trouble or something.
If you have NEVER soldered a pipe before in your life, perhaps you could have a friend with some experience help you. On the other hand, it shoud take a plumber less than an hour, so I would call a few places, explain the simplicity of what you need, and get a few quotes. I doubt it would cost much to do it right, and while you are sleeping at night you would not have to worry about your soldering skills.
Just some thoughts..............
--James--
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I don't know where you live, but getting a plumber out to solder two sleeves (a 10 minute job) would be horrendously expensive in most places. It's just way to small a task to even justify the drive time.

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John wrote:

My guess: someone was getting ready to replace it. Don't need to cut them to winterize.
Take a look at the serial # on the nameplate. Usually, the first 4 digits denote the month/year of mfr. If it's 10 years old or more, figure on scrapping it.
Unless there is 4" or so of copper pipe sticking out of the heater, you may have trouble getting the connection hot enough to solder. Clean pipe and fitting and use flux. Do a GOOGLE Advanced search on this newsgroup for solder/soldering for extensive tips.
Jim
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HUD and banks don't just "winterize" a forclosed home. Sometimes, especially when they feel it will be a while before it's resold, they must make the home "uninhabitable" which effectively forces the town/ township / county to stop levvying all property taxes, other than the taxes on the land.
That usually includes disconnecting all utilities, completely boarding up the windows, and rendering the kitchen and heating systems inoperable.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (HA HA Budys Here) wrote in message

Well, I fixed it using several techniques. I was having real problems soldering the pipes because they were out of round-- a fact I was unable to see at the time. The original installer had created a "Rube Goldberg"-style of angles and straight pieces that made it difficult to work with. I ended up cutting most of the copper off and replacing it with a section of flexible heater tubing connected to compression fittings by brass couplers, which works quite well and gets rid of about ten solder joints. I ended up with three solder joints that I had made and it seems to be holding quite well.
I noticed that the original owner had replaced several electronic components on the heater. I asked HUD about the lines being cut and never got a response, although there were no other lines damaged in this way. The gas was still on and everything ran fine once I had the power and water on, so I have no idea why this was done. I did notice the lines were badly cut using a hacksaw, which would seem inconsistent with my experience with HUD.
So, who knows? I do appreciate the insights you've provided, though.
John
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I'm responding to all the messages on this thread-- I appreciate the thoughts you have all provided.

hot water heater
I had been thinking along those lines as well. The heater looks brand new, so I thought maybe he had replaced it recently and decided that he wanted to keep it. The rest of the house is in good shape, so he didn't destroy a bunch of stuff that was obvious like in some HUD homes.

your soldering skills.
I have soldered a lot of small pieces of metal together and am pretty good at it, but I've never done pipes. The peace of mind thing is making me doubt that I should do this.

digits denote the month/year of mfr.
Thanks Jim-- good call! I don't think it's that old-- it looks brand new, so maybe the heater was missing or badly damaged when HUD got the home and they were replacing it. It sounds to generous for HUD, though...

town/ township / county to stop levvying all property taxes, other than the taxes on the land.
This sounds more in keeping with the typical HUD behavior... Thanks for the advice!
John
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Soldering copper pipe is very simple. There are a million sites on the web which tell you the basics. Get a few fittings, some flux and some pipe and try it
-Jack

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